Broadstairs copy shop worker Matt Seward will join 200 other cyclists next month as he attempts to ride the TransAtlantic Way; a solo self-supported 2500km route along the western coast of Ireland. Starting in Dublin, riders head to Derry and follow the coast all the way to Kinsale Near Cork.
Matt hopes to raise over £2,000 for his chosen charity, Pilgrims Hospices.
Matt, who works at his family printing business Seaward Copy Shop, is a keen to support Pilgrims Hospices in thanks for the help the charity gave his family.
He said: “I am doing this ride in memory of my Dad Roger who passed away last September after his year-long battle with cancer. Dad was 75 years old; he’d always been a fighter, overcoming many illnesses during his life and before he lost his sight was a keen cyclist himself, raising money for charity.
“Pilgrims Hospices were so supportive, they really helped to comfort my Dad and the whole family. They respected his wishes and maintained his dignity right to the end in so that he could be at home where he passed away with his family by his side. Their support was invaluable.
“You don’t truly realise the positive impact and the great work that they do until you need them.”
On the ride, which sets off on June 6, Matt is aiming to cycle around 325 km each day, sleeping under the stars on some nights and staying at bed and breakfasts on others to catch up with a good night’s sleep.
He said: “I have wild camped around the Lake District and Snowdonia, therefore have some experiences to draw down upon. I find that when I am tired every bench, bus shelter or bush looks appealing.”
Matt began seriously training for his challenge in January this year, increasing his cycling hours by using an indoor trainer during the winter months. He has completed some overnight rides of around 300km and has been to Ireland to do a training ride around the Ring of Kerry.
He said: “I am a member of Thanet Road Club and I’ve been doing long distance cycling challenges for the past few years. This is my biggest challenge yet!
“I am cycling around the entire route on my own and unsupported; carrying all of my clothes, sleeping bag and tools with me. I must find places to buy food on the route. In this wild part of Ireland, it can sometimes be 80km between shops!
“Although there is no official cut off time for finishing, there is a finishers party on Saturday 15 June; I hope to make it to the finish by then in time for a Guinness!”
Donate at Matt’s JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattsewardtaw2019
Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards, to its new wellbeing and social programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.